Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Drew Goddard
Released: January 2008
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman
Cloverfield is basically The Blair Witch Project but set during an apocalypse in a city, rather than a witch hunt in the woods. I thought it would be an easy watch, and perhaps even a good film as I’ve always heard it being referenced to.
(Not to be confused with 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is the second instalment.)
But it was not entertaining, exciting or scary. I was hanging on by a shoestring the whole time I was watching it, holding on to the possibility that it might get better. But then it ended.
I felt incredibly deflated. But kudos for keeping me hooked just enough for me not to turn the film off.
Basically, a guy called Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is leaving America and going to Japan and all his friends and work colleagues throw him a surprise party. Rob’s camera is given to a friend called Hudson (T.J. Miller) who is in charge of filming the party and testimonials. One woman, Beth (Odette Yustman) , speaks to camera and it’s revealed that she is the ex-girlfriend who is clearly still in love with Rob. Rob feels the same way, shown by the regret he expresses when she leaves the party – just before the lights go out in the city.
Suddenly, buildings are falling and everyone scatters into the city streets. Hudson is still filming everything and he sticks close to Rob who is hell-bent on finding Beth, who he decides is the love of his life. In the distance a large shadow can be seen – a monster who is smashing up the street.
It reminded me of Godzilla meets War of the Worlds in that respect. But a far more simplified and cheesy version.
I appreciate there are many qualities in this film that would make it ideal to study at school: A small group of characters on a quest despite the uphill struggle and imminent danger posed by a monster. Simple film techniques and good use of sound effects in the place of music. It’s a relatable environment, and the storyline plays on our fears.
But quite frankly, it was boring. Without giving away too much, the open-ending was incredibly unsatisfying and way too many of the core characters get killed off, which is a let-down because most films need a hero in order for the audience to feel content at the end.
I would say it was a brilliant, if not predictable, film if you told me it was made by a group of self-funded film school students. But surprisingly, Paramount Pictures is behind this.
All in all, you’ll find yourself scoffing and eye-rolling rather than watching through sweaty fingers at the end of your seat.
Jodie’s rating: 4/10